Letters to the Editor
FAITH MAGAZINE November-December 2013
Fatima and the Conversion of Russia
Dear Father Editor,
Joanna Bogle appears to view the state of the modern Church through double-glazed, rose-tinted glasses. (Faith Sep/Oct). A few criticisms:
John Paul II in his 1984 “consecration” of the world did not name Russia, as Our Lady specifically requested at Fatima, and I don’t know of any British bishop who co-consecrated with him, as was also required. You just do not mess around or modify Mary’s instructions. What madness to do so!
As to the conversion of Russia this is the first time I have heard of it. I hope that Joanna’s reporting is true but a serious difficulty arises here: would the mother of the Catholic Church want conversions to the partly heretical, schismatic Orthodox Church, which does not acknowledge the supreme authority of the Pope? Surely not.
It is very unworthy of her to quote the crazy action of one individual Lefebvrist who tried to stab the Pope and, without adding further comment, imply that all “fatimists” are of that ilk.
The then Cardinal Ratzinger has given us a paraphrase of the “last secret of Fatima” which sounds to me like a bland, pacifying bromide. Why are we not given the full wording of it? Are the laity too immature to cope with it, or do we have a cover up here? If the latter, why?
I agree wholeheartedly with Joanna that we can’t have enough prayer and penance, which Mary invariably stresses in her appearances.
Joanna Bogle Replies
Pope John Paul certainly followed the instructions given at Fatima. He was specific and careful in his wording. He asked all the Bishops of the world to join him. Do you really think Mary will fail him if some were elsewhere, whether from choice or otherwise? (One did the consecration in the heart of the Kremlin itself, as described. One, at least, was in prison somewhere in China).
I am glad to have been of service in making you aware, for the first time, of the conversion that is taking place in Russia: my aim in writing about it was precisely to inform people who did not know of it. It is one of the most hugely significant things that is happening in the world, massive in its implications.
The mistake you make is assuming that conversion is a single, split-second event: it isn’t, as any Catholic should know. The conversion of Russia is happening and will be brought to fulfilment: full union with the Orthodox is a distant but achievable goal for which successive popes have worked and prayed. Meanwhile, Russian people are turning to God and filling the churches, at the same time as, alas, millions of British and other Western Europeans are turning away. We have got used to thinking of Russians as “the baddies” and the West as “the good chaps”, but the 21st century is going to be rather different from the 20th.
Cardinal Ratzinger did not give us a “paraphrase” of the final Fatima secrets: the letter from Sister Lucia was given in full and can be read in its entirety on the Vatican website, where her handwritten pages are displayed – she used old-fashioned, four-fold notepaper. If you thought it was all just “bland, pacifying bromide” then you have a different view from me. I found the vision of a bishop falling to the ground after clambering over corpses rather dramatic.
The World Apostolate of Fatima
Dear Father Editor,
As someone who has been striving to promote a true understanding of the message of Fatima for many years, I was delighted to read Joanna Bogle’s informative and balanced article in the last issue of Faith, on the recent resurgence of Orthodox Christianity in Russia, and how this contrasts with the misrepresentations of those who still try to maintain that Russia has not yet been consecrated according to Our Lady’s request at Fatima.
As you know, Pope Francis has decided to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 13 October during the ceremony for the Marian Day in St Peter’s Square, in the presence of Our Lady’s statue, which he requested to be brought from Fatima.
In support of the Holy Father, I and three other members of our committee of the World Apostolate of Fatima in England and Wales, together with our spiritual director, are going to Rome to participate in this special event. Professor Americo Lopez-Ortiz, president of the apostolate, and members from other nations, will also be going.
The World Apostolate of Fatima in England and Wales was permanently erected as a Public Association of the Faithful by Cardinal Rylko, on 7 October 2010. We are in full communion with the Church, we were approved by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales in 2004, and we affirm with the Holy See, the Bishop of Fatima and Sr Lucia that Russia was indeed consecrated by Bl John Paul II on 25 March 1984.
national president of the
World Apostolate of Fatima in
England and Wales
Popes Francis and Pius XII
Dear Father Editor,
There have been a lot of comparisons between Pope Francis and Pope John XXIII. However, sitting watching the news on the evening of his election and first appearance on the balcony, the first thought that came to my mind was how much he reminded me of Pope Pius XII.
Pius XII was elected in 1939 shortly before the Second War broke out. Pope Francis is facing the crisis in Syria, where civil war has raged for more than two years. Both pontiffs are known for their pursuit of peace and their rejection of calls to arms. And hopefully Pope Francis will succeed in making the world see that war is a failure.
Both pontiffs have been accused of moral failure in the face of evil. Pope Pius was criticised for doing nothing to protect the Jews, even though the Catholic Church saved at least 850,000 Jews. Pope Francis accused of moral failures during Argentina’s Dirty War.
Both pontiffs have a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. Pope Pius was consecrated bishop on the day of the miracle of the sun and consecrated the world to her Immaculate Heart. Pope Francis consecrated his pontificate to her Immaculate Heart shortly after becoming Pope (the consecration took place on 13 May 2013). And her statue from the Fatima shrine will be brought to Rome for the anniversary of the miracle of the sun, on 13 October.
It is only human to find these connections, but I am sure Pope Francis will be his own man and not a clone of Pope John XXIII or Pius XII. However, given the similarities with Pope Pius XII I hope Pope Francis will unblock the latter’s cause for beatification and put the final seal on the defeat of Hitler and the blood creed of the Nazis. Not to do so would be a scandal.
Catholics Come Home
Dear Father Editor,
Pope Francis in his recent interview called the Church the “home of all” (Faith, Sep/Oct). How heartening, then, to read Katie Peterson Warner’s article entitled “Catholics Come Home”. It was very uplifting to learn that the Church in America is taking positive steps to invite Catholics to come back to what the Pope rightly points out is their home.
It was very useful to find Katie offering concrete suggestions on how one might go about inviting lapsed Catholics to return to the Church. No doubt this article will have inspired many practising Catholics to share their faith with lapsed family and friends.
This evangelisation campaign has clearly been successful in America, with an estimated 92,000 Catholics returning to the Church. However, this raises the question: is something similar being done here in the UK? I know that all sorts of catechetical programmes are already being used in the Church, and I know there are differences between the situations in the UK and America. Nonetheless, given the obvious success of the Catholics Come Home programme in America, the questions stands.
Is it possible that this programme could be adapted and run successfully in the UK? Certainly there is an audience of lapsed Catholics in the UK for this sort of material. And why go to the trouble of reinventing the wheel if a programme and resources that work are already available and could be adapted?
Dear Father Editor,
In Sr Andrea’s article “Real Healing for Real Grief”, I was encouraged to read about the good works of those at Rachel’s Vineyard. I was moved by how beautiful it is that people find healing with the help of Scripture.
To know that your child is “safe and happy in the arms of Jesus” must bring immense healing and peace to someone who has suffered this “forbidden grief”. People are being shown how Our loving Lord can allow something beautiful and sincere to come from such heartbreak and lies.
The work of those at Rachel’s Vineyard is invaluable in providing a much needed service in today’s society.
The article certainly made me think more about this aspect of pro-life work, and made me wonder what we are doing as a Church to reach these people and whether we’re doing enough.
I sincerely hope that people will think about this aspect of abortion and pray that many more women and men may be reached who are in need of the consolation and peace they deserve.